The Godfather filming locations in Sicily
The Godfather Movie Tour from Taormina
The Godfather, a saga that entered the history of cinema with full rights, based on the novel by the Italian-American Mario Puzo (titled The Godfather, 1969) and directed by Francis Ford Coppola, certainly needs no introduction. Who hasn’t seen it in full at least a couple of times? We can call it a cult, without fear of exaggerating.
We therefore propose an itinerary between the Sicilian locations of the film, for the most avid fans and for those who want to discover traditional villages and suggestive monuments.
The trilogy is set mainly in New York, but Sicily is already here. Just enter the Corleone house, participate in the daughter’s wedding party, linger over people’s clothes and movements to observe their customs and traditions. A world recreated within the spaces in which the protagonists move, live and dictate the rules. With the charm and contrasts of Sicily.
We abandon the big apple for the first time when Michael is forced to flee and hide for killing his father’s assassin, Vito Corleone. He takes refuge in Sicily, returning to his hometown from which his own family takes its name.
From the first shots, Sicily expresses itself in all its seductive splendor, so far from New York in the 1950s. A yellow earth, calm, silent, at times sly and sensual, like the beautiful Apollonia, with which Michael falls in love. A land torn apart by ancient and dark balances, which deface and nullify it, as happens to the innocent girl.
Although there is talk of Corleone, the scenes were shot in some villages near Taormina. In fact, the film is from the early 70s, but set in the 50s. At that time Corleone was already too modern, so Coppola opted for other locations and in particular: Motta Camastra, a village of 900 souls in the province of Messina, with a strong religious spirit and agricultural traditions; Forza d’Agrò, always in the province of Messina with the Mother Church of the Santissima Annunziata; and Savoca, one of the most beautiful villages in Italy. Here the scenes were filmed in which Michael meets and asks Apollonia in marriage, in particular in the farmhouse in Piazza Fossia at Bar Vitelli and in the church of San Nicolò where the wedding is celebrated.
What in Godfather III (from 1990) is the Sicilian house of Michael Corleone, is instead the Castello degli Schiavi which is located in Fiumefreddo di Sicilia, in via Marina, a town in the province of Catania, along the slopes of Etna. It is one of the most suggestive castles in the region, a legacy of the 1700s, a great example of Sicilian rural baroque.
The other scenes set between Corleone and Bagheria, are actually filmed in the usual three municipalities, plus Acireale, a town near Etna famous for Carnival, one of the most important in Sicily; the Castle of San Marco in Calatabiano, on the beach of the same name; and the Taormina station, where Michael and Kay meet.
Even the most important scenes from the trilogy finale are set in Sicily. Michael’s son Antony performs in Palermo as an opera singer. The scenes of the celebrations are shot in Villa Malfitano, while the show at the Teatro Massimo. It is on its staircase that the tragic end of Mary, the favorite daughter, takes place. For the final shots, we return to the Castello degli Schiavi, which is Don Tommasino’s villa, where Michael dies alone.